Yet Another Samsung Android Smartphone?
The Samsung Replenish is indeed another Android powered smartphone, however, there are some slight differences from the current line up. First off, it comes with a full QWERTY keyboard under a small touchscreen display, similar to the Motorola Charm that was released on T-Mobile. Secondly, the Samsung Replenish is Sprint's first eco-friendly smartphone, meaning the Replenish is made from recycled and recyclable material. Samsung has shown in the past that they are capable of creating attractive, usable, and eco-friendly phones, but does the Samsung Replenish meet today's tough competitive requirements in the U.S. smartphone market?
- Dimensions: 4.84 x 2.36 x 0.45 inches (123 x 60 x 11.4 mm)
- Weight: 4.1 oz (116 g)
- Display: 2.8 inch LCD capacitive touchscreen display, 240 x 320 pixels
- Memory: 136 MB + 32 GB MicroSD
- OS: Android OS 2.2
- Processor: 600 MHz Qualcomm MSM7627-2
- Camera: 2 megapixel camera
- Connectivity: CDMA 850/1900 Mhz
- Data: 1xEV-DO rev.0
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 3.0
- GPS: GPS with A-GPS
- Battery: Li-Ion 1600 mAh
Design and Display (3 out of 5)
The Samsung Replenish looks different from their current line up of Android powered smartphones. It still follows the usual candy bar design, but similar to the old Samsung Blackjack, there's a full physical QWERTY keyboard on the front of the screen, under the 2.8 inch display. The small display itself is a responsive, capacitive touchscreen, and the colors come out fairly well, though not as vibrant as the more expensive brethren under Samsung such as the Samsung Epic 4G.
Under the display are the four familiar shortcut buttons for menu, home, back and search. Beneath that is the aforementioned full QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard is a bit scrunched together, but not as bad as the newly released HP Veer, yet it is still a bit hard to type on. The left side has the volume rocker, while opposite on the right, resides the camera shutter button. Below, on the bottom you'll find the microUSB and up top is where the 3.5 mm headphone jack and power button reside.
Overall, the Samsung Replenish has a very nice design, very similar to the Motorola Charm, one of its competitors, but on the down side, the screen is a bit small and the keyboard is a bit too clustered together.
User Interface (2 out of 5)
The Samsung Replenish runs on Android, meaning it has a very simple to use interface. Unfortunately, it falls prey to the same pitfall that other touchscreen phones with small displays run into — it's hard to use a small screen with your finger covering so much space. People with larger hands can easily have an annoying time. Using your fingers to manipulate the touchscreen interface you may notice that up to a half of the screen is now covered by your finger. In addition, the zooming will be your best friend, as trying to read websites or emails will require zooming and scrolling, consistently.
The full QWERTY keyboard under the screen does alleviate the stress a bit when it comes to typing, however, the keyboard itself is a bit cramped and not as responsive as other keyboards. The keys were also a bit too slick, sliding off fingertips rather than gripping slightly. It's a bit of a disappointment considering Samsung has made better smartphones with keyboards before, even entry level smartphones such as the Transform.
Sprint has added SprintID onto the Samsung Replenish, which enhances the user experience slightly. Sprint ID basically gives users the ability to quickly change the interface into one that's already been created as a template. Basically changing the background, applications and sounds of the smartphone quickly. A useful little addition, but overall, not anything amazing.
Performance (2 out of 5)
The Samsung Replenish runs on a 600 MHz processor which is preloaded with Android 2.2. The performance is a bit lacking, lagging quite often, and at times becomes unresponsive. While adding new SpintID packs, the Replenish froze on two different occasions, which was quite annoying to say the least. Call quality was decent, able to filter sounds on the caller's end fairly well, however, incoming call quality was slightly questionable. There were times where it was hard to hear the incoming caller's voice, but that could very well depend on the network.
Features (2 out of 5)
The Samsung Replenish doesn't come loaded with features, but it does come with the usual handful found on Android powered smartphones. The first feature is the fact that it runs on Android 2.2. The fact that it runs on Android means that the Replenish has access to thousands of applications, both free and paid, that can be used to enhance the user experience, add games, or add useful applications to help in your daily life. While Android 2.2 is supposed to give smartphones the ability to browse web pages with Flash, the Replenish apparently does not have the ability to, as Flash sites do not load in the browser.
The other feature is the 2 megapixel camera rounding out the back of the smartphone. There's pretty much no point in using the camera on the Replenish, as photos come out somewhat dark and fuzzy and sadly, Samsung hasn't added any sort of flash. Trying to take a picture in a dimly lit areas is near impossible, even if there is a dedicated camera button. The video is also nothing much to boast about and comes out every bit as fuzzy as the still pictures.
The Replenish also comes with a solar charging cover separately, though the pricing has yet to be released. It's a bit of a disappointment that the phone doesn't come with the cover as standard, and the fact that it has to be bought separately is definitely an annoyance. Overall, the features on the Replenish leave a lot to be desired, even for an entry level smartphone.
The Final Verdict (2 out of 5)
Overall the Samsung Replenish is a disappointing release into the entry level market from Samsung and easily ranks in as a 'Below Average' smartphone. The small screen, sub-par keyboard, lag, freezing and low quality camera make the Replenish a smartphone to avoid. While the $50 price tag is cheap, it's a better idea to just go with the LG Optimus S on Sprint than to pursue this option. For folks who are truly bent on being eco-friendly and want a smartphone that's green, then the Replenish may still be the choice to take.
- Source: Author's experience.
- Image Credits: Samsung, https://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/cell-phones/SPH-M580ZKASPR